A few months ago I moved to New Jersey and really didn't know anyone. On July/2007 I received a mail advertisement for the dating service Great Expectations in Summit, NJ. I completed it, sent it in and scheduled an appointment to hear what they had to offer. A lady named Stacey (no last name provided) gave me a two hour presentation, showed me a short video of happy couples and social events and made me fill out some generic forms. I kept asking for their fees the whole time but she refused to tell me until the presentation was finished. I was finally told it would cost $6,500.00 to join for 24 months. I was speechless. But if I joined that day, they would bring membership down to $3990.00. I then told her that I needed to think about it. She said she didn't want me to leave, that most men pay twice as much for the same service that I was getting at half the price because they were targeting women with my qualifications and in my age group, and the offer was good just for that day only. Then she gave me lots of flattery about my looks, my status, my education, etc. I said I wanted to make sure first that they had members I would be interested in, as well as social interests and caliber. She spent about half hour and came back with 25-30 pictures of great looking men in my age group that were available and dating. She gave the impression that GE is very successful, not only in dating but marriages. One of their major selling points is that they provide an extensive screening process to guarantee that their members are in good standing, not married, they have no criminal records, health issues and so on. She also told me they sign in average over 200 new clients a month. She made it sound like most of the men had great jobs, of course only referencing the lawyers, doctors, and business owners that use the site. She mentioned that out of 100 people, maybe 2 would be compatible with me, and that one of their policies was to limit contacting to 40 members daily Well, saying that made it sound like they had a lot of men to choose from. She also said I shouldn't be looking for someone more than 10 miles outside the radius I live in.
She added that not only would they provide first class dates, but they were la crme de la crme, the best and most effective dating service in the world, "with an international reputation", (Guaranteed results in a short term; thousands of real, sincere pre-screened classy up-scale gentlemen; new sign-in members on a daily basis; coach representatives available at all times to help me through the process; lots of fun, relaxing, cultural events organized by Summit Center every weekend; highly successful methods which produce outstanding results; soon you will not be able to handle so many dates). She described the whole experience as just like being a child in a candy store
Everything looked and sounded great until she asked if I'd like to sign up right then. Well, I was just looking into it and had already decided I wouldn't make a decision that night, especially after finding out their shocking price tag. I wanted to do some research on them before spending that amount. After I told her, "I want to think about it", she kept increasing the pressure to sign and I kept insisting I wanted to think it over. When I didn't budge, she reversed her strategy and began making various personal remarks such as perhaps this is why you're still single and referring to private information from the application form. She then informed me that I suffered from low self-esteem and a fear of commitment.
I should have left that very moment. But although I believed it was ludicrously expensive and I was skeptical about this rude lady, I thought it was a sensible and safe way to meet quality people in a new city. She assured me that most people who come in to interview aren't even eligible to join because they have very strict requirements, which I met, but I didn't inquire as to what they were. I guess I figured that I was a multilingual, multicultural professional with an above average education and that those things were part of it.
Before the interview they asked me for my passport, my driver's license and a major credit card as a form of ID, which now I realize, is the only screening they really do: before pricing the service they run a credit check!!! My understanding was that the purpose of the interview was, among other things, to verify my financial stability. I was a bit wary, but I can understand being careful in introducing persons who are unknown that they are not letting loose financial predators. Many of their questions were intrusive.
While I was having my video and photos taken, I found out that GE does not match people and they don't even call members regularly. Basically, it was an online dating service where GE took amateur digital photos and videos and the rest is up to you. Then I learned that there are "extras" to the service that will give you a competitive "edge" such as the virtual grams for an extra $3600 and photo touch-ups for $500.
They requested my bio to be e-mailed to them before the photo appointment. I e-mailed and still there were typos and paragraphs changed, which have never been corrected despite my requests. In my opinion GE is unethical, unprofessional and completely disorganized.
Of course I wasn't allowed to check out the site at all until I signed up. So after they got my money, I toured their members. As soon as I was able to sign into site and start looking, I found every one of the men I saw during the interview, were inactive and many of the photos they showed me were not even posted. In one day I exhausted the alphabet of my age group. There are (and have been for 7 months) only 64 members listed in the 45-55 age group, 27 of which are inactive, and overlap with the next age group. I know of members who are married, and I will gladly pass word so you can verify, there are members without pictures and others whose pictures are at least 20 years old (they insist that new professional photographs be taken and paid again- every 2 years). The men listed were either too old, too young or involved. Soon I found out that several members misstated their marital status, age, height, etc. and in general the pool was much older than stated during the sales pitch. Their promises for up-scale professionals to date, include maintenance people, truck drivers etc. I was paying for an intelligent, respectable, safe way to find a nice mate. I have not received any selection or call in months. When they bother to answer the phone, they tell me just keep on choosing when there is nobody to choose from. I've got 98 more to go to see if I can find the 2 I'm compatible with, according to the salesgirls anyway, but they hardly have 40 members registered in Summit! I've found only 2 people that live within my 10 mile radius.
Only three guys selected me during the first month, and I found out that when I agreed to meet them, they received a message from GE making them believe that I was the one who selected them, creating false expectations. In 7 months I have had only 3 dates with men who were more socially inept than anyone I've ever met in my life (I've met nicer gentlemen in bars). The three of them complained bitterly about GE and their absolute lack of results. One of them actually spent half our date discussing with his attorney a restraining order his wife!!! had just put on him for sexual assault and battery. The attorney was drunk and vomited on my shoes. I was about to call 911 because I felt my safety was endangered, I was unfamiliar with the area, in the middle of the night, two hours away from my car. This particular guy was referred by Sally, the GE Director, as a classy gentleman, perfect for me. A fourth guy who selected me recently, stood me up twice, once on Xmas! This has been a severe disappointment for me, both financially and emotionally. When I complained to GE they suggested I loosen-up. There was never anything they offered to do themselves.
The lots of fun, relaxing, cultural events organized by Summit Center every weekend were non-existing. The one and only event they had in 2006 (and as I learned later, since June 2005) was organized and posted in their website last minute, took place on the other side of the city, on a week day on working hours, and nobody even bothered to tell me about it. I found about it three days after it was over, and only because I called their office. The so called coach representatives are never available. After numerous calls I finally met this very young girl wearing a very revealing and sloppy outfit. She looked as if she had slept three days in a row in her clothes. I am a business executive in my 50's and this is not what I want to represent me. She would not let me see Sally, and I could not escalate my complaint. I asked then for the head of corporate but they refused to give me more information.
They don't own an answering service. All I have is an e-mail address hosted in Hotmail.com (they don't even own a server). It takes weeks at a time to get an e-mail answer, and what they say makes me think that they have not read at all my complaints or are plain ignoring me. The "GE" website doesn't even have a link that would allow clients to voice their complaints. That, to me, speaks volumes. The staff changes every time I call and nobody gives any follow up.
I tried to find the corporate office of Great Expectations on Google, so as to complain--no luck, I called two other offices in other parts of the country, trying to get the name and address of the owner of the corporation. The staff in both places quizzed me about why I wanted to know, was I writing something, etc., they would not give me any corporate contact information. The second hung up on me--both seemed very defensive. I managed to get a phone number for their main corporate 561 393 7220 which I surmise is located in Florida, but it's not listed. I called that number repeatedly and only got an answering service but they never took or returned any of my calls, as a matter of professional courtesy.
I thought mine was an isolated incident, but I became appalled by the hundreds of complaints, law suits and bad reports against GE I found posted on the Internet. That's probably the reason they don't give you any time to think it over or do any research on them before you commit. I decided to cancel my membership, to save myself from further disappointment. My last e-mails have remained unanswered and the last time I talked to this lady Sally she told me over the phone that if I wanted to sue I was welcome to do it and I would never see any of my money back because I signed a contract, they have a no refund policy, I went there to date and I have dated, so they don't owe me nothing. She finished the conversation with the statement with that attitude of yours, it's not a surprise you are single.
They have thought of every way to get and keep your money, without providing any service. I feel it was a scam, and they know it would cost me more to get a lawyer and fight it than it is worth. I think they count on that, and more or less that is what their policy has written into it. Everything they said is false advertising.
They should be shot down! Great Expectations has been the absolute worst, most expensive, and thoroughly disappointing experience I have ever had the misfortune of living through. I desire all of my money back, my photos and video removed from their unprofessional website and a written apology, at least as flashy as the bunch of lies they call their presentation.
Thanks in advance for your help.
Parsippany, NJ, New Jersey
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